Pinus albicaulis is a keystone tree species with nutrient-rich seeds that support high levels of biodiversity in western North America, including for nuthatch and grosbeak bird species, pine squirrels, and bears (source). The whitebark pine’s lifespan can span up to 500 years—and sometimes more than 1,000 years! However, warming temperatures have allowed the nonnative white pine blister rust, Cronartium ribicola and other threats like the predatory native mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae to survive winters at abormal levels, reproduce more rapidly and spread in our ecosystem to destroy whitebark pines and several other tree species too. This has greatly increased tree mortality in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the whitebark pine is a candidate on the federal endangered species list (source). The significant tree losses are estimated to be at over fifty percent in the forseeable future, diminishing a core foodsource and threatening the long-term viability of a number of Yellowstone’s animal populations.